PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16) emulators

From Emulation General Wiki
Revision as of 15:13, 1 June 2020 by 162.158.167.51 (talk) (Emulators)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16)
PC-Engine-Console-Set.png
SuperGrafx-Console-Set.jpg
Above: The PC Engine.
Below: The SuperGrafx.
Developer NEC Home Electronics, Hudson Soft
Type Home video game console
Generation Fourth generation
Release date 1987
Discontinued 1994
Successor SuperGrafx, PC-FX
Emulated

The PC Engine (PCE) was a 16-bit system released jointly by NEC and Hudson Soft in Japan on October 30, 1987 and in the US on August 29, 1989. It was retailed for $399.99. It had a Hudson Soft HuC6280 8-bit CPU at 7.16 MHz and 1.79 MHz with 8KB of RAM and 64KB of VRAM. The CPU was teamed up with a 16-bit graphics processor and 16-bit video color encoder chip, both built by Hudson Soft. When it came time to seek other potential markets, the two companies eventually caved to a limited American release in 1989 under a completely different model and name: the TurboGrafx-16. The European versions varied throughout the countries, being the western version in Spain and United Kingdom and Japanese models in Benelux regions.

The joint venture, formed in North America as TTI, made an add-on called the PC Engine CD (PCE-CD) / TurboGrafx-CD (TG-CD) that loaded games from discs instead, much like the Sega CD but better supported. The PC Engine Duo / Turbo-Duo combined the add-on into the unit with more RAM as yet another failed attempt to relaunch the failing console in the West.

When it first launched in North America, the TurboGrafx-16 was largely seen as a failure blamed on poor marketing by the manufacturers. The PC Engine, on the other hand, was a whole different story, beating out the Famicom when it first came out long enough to compete against its rival's own successor and gave little focus for the Mega Drive who was instead posing more of a threat to Nintendo in North America.

NEC planned to enhance the system further, announcing the "PC Engine 2" that would later become the PC Engine SuperGrafx. However, it was rushed to a 1989 market in Japan lacking much of its promised features with only seven titles exclusively made for it, ending up a commercial failure to be binned and discontinued not long after. The PC Engine GT / Turbo-Express was a very rare handheld model of the original hardware, in the same vein as the Sega Nomad (a portable Sega Genesis / Mega Drive). It did include some exclusive features like the TurboLink multiplayer feature (used in games such as the flight sim called Falcon and Bomberman 93) but wasn't widely supported.

Emulators

Name Platform(s) Latest Version PCE-CD (TG-CD) PCE2 (SG) Libretro Core Accuracy Active Recommended
PC / x86
Mednafen (PCE-Accurate) Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD 1.24.3 High
MAME Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD 0.222 High
Mednafen (PCE-Fast) Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD 1.24.3 Mid
BizHawk Windows 2.4.2 High
Turbo Engine Windows 0.32 High
MagicEngine Windows macOS 1.1.3 Mid
Ootake Windows 2.97 Mid
pcejin (Mednafen 0.8.x) Windows Git Mid
DarcNES Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD 9b0401/9b0313 ~ Low
Neco Windows 0.11 Low
ePCEngine Windows 8/12/2017 ?
FinalBurn Alpha Windows 0.2.97.43 ?
higan Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD v110 ?
Hu-Go! Windows Linux 2.12 ? ?
Mobile / ARM
Mednafen (PCE-Fast) Android iOS Linux Pandora 1.24.3 Mid
PCE.emu Android 1.5.43 ? ?
Console
Virtual Console Wii N/A High
Mednafen (PCE-Fast)[N 1] PSP PlayStation 3
Wii Nintendo 3DS Wii U Switch
1.24.3 Mid
HuE PSP 0.70 ? ?
  1. Only available on consoles as a libretro core (e.g. RetroArch).

Comparisons

Mednafen
Much like its other original cores, it does very well, even having two profiles: PCE-Accurate and PCE-Fast. Despite being CLI-based, a fork of an older version that has a GUI has emerged called pcejin. RetroArch uses the PCE-Fast core for its beetle fork.
Ootake
It's okay for general purposes.
MAME
Has a pce driver (and a child driver called tg16). In all revisions it emulates, MAME reports it as working and the graphics as okay, but the sound is imperfect.
MagicEngine
Unfortunately trialware that costs €15 euro. There are better options available for free.